Kris Kristofferson

A Moment of Forever

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After salvaging several recording careers, producer Don Was formed his own imprint, Karambolage, to continue such efforts in the early '90s, and among other artists worked with Kris Kristofferson, dormant as a solo singer/songwriter since the commercial failure of his two politically oriented Mercury albums Repossessed and Third World Warrior in the late '80s. But A Moment of Forever, the comeback album Was produced for Kristofferson, was shelved when Karambolage lost its distribution deal, and the album wasn't released until the summer of 1995 by the independent Justice label. That means it's a far more ambitious undertaking than you might expect, packed with Los Angeles studio heavyweights like drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist Waddy Wachtel, and Heartbreakers organist Benmont Tench, as well as studio wiz Was on bass and behind the glass. In his late 50s, Kristofferson has retreated slightly from the agitprop, but fighting is still a recurring motif in his songs, along with an old favorite subject, freedom. (Picking up on this, designer Cynthia S. Kinney even sticks the dictionary definition of freedom into a collage on one of the CD booklet pages.) But the songwriter often comes off as a sage elder rather than an active combatant, and the album is as concerned with emotions as it is with politics. Two old songs, "Casey's Last Ride" and "Good Love (Shouldn't Feel So Bad)," and two later ones, "Shipwrecked in the Eighties" and "Under the Gun," join the new compositions, and the old ones have a lyricism and clarity that makes you wish Kristofferson's mature writing wasn't so rhetorical. A Moment of Forever doesn't seem like the place to start in listening to Kristofferson, but those who have been following his work thus far will find it a good representation of his philosophical concerns, expressed in strong musical performances.

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